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Ajax set to face Champions League quality – Van der Sar

Former Ajax goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar believes the club’s UEFA Europa League group represents one of the sterner challenges of the competition.

The Eredivisie side will take on Celtic, Fenerbahce and Molde in Group A – with the former two having dropped out of qualification for the UEFA Champions League.

Ajax are out of Europe’s premier club competition after a second-place finish last term but Van der Sar – now employed behind the scenes at the Amsterdam Arena – is under no illusions as to the quality in the Europa League.

Asked whether it felt like the team had been drawn in a UEFA Champions League group, he said: “Yeah, we played Celtic two years ago and had two exciting matches.

“It’s great to come back to Glasgow and play again against a great European team. Fenerbahce again are also a great name and tradition.

“I saw [Celtic’s defeat to Malmo] this week and it was quite unfortunate of course that, like us, they missed out on the Champions League.

“That’s always the pinnacle but then you see names like Dortmund, Liverpool, Napoli, Monaco, Celtic and Ajax [in the Europa League].

“They’re good clubs and it’s a good competition to be in.”

One club to avoid a Champions League exit in qualifying was Manchester United – Van der Sar’s former employers hammering Club Brugge 7-1 on aggregate.

“It’s great that they’re back in the Champions League,” Van der Sar added, as Louis van Gaal’s men prepare to return to the competition after a year’s absence.

“They’re coming back to Holland [to play PSV] – unfortunately not to Amsterdam but it’s good they are back in the Champions League.”

Fri 28 Aug, 2015
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